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Thread: The Tape Never Lies: How the Steelers stopped the Jets on third down

  1. #1

    The Tape Never Lies: How the Steelers stopped the Jets on third down

    Posted by Alen Dumonjic under The Tape Never Lies on Sep 19, 2012

    As he roams the Heinz Field sideline with piercing eyes, the wheels in his head turn and produce successive startling images of an overabundance of athletes bombarding barricades. The man is Dick LeBeau ,and those images are of the Fire Zone Blitz, a legendary defensive strategy that he has used for nearly 30 years to invade opposing fortresses.

    On Sunday against the New York Jets, it was the same story as he quickly eradicated Gang Green’s early third down successes and put a halt to any offensive progress.

    As the game progressed, the Jets offense seemed to regress as their third down distances appeared to get longer and longer while they came up shorter and shorter on plays. Because of the distant first down marker, the Steelers were able to blitz quarterback Mark Sanchez and force him to get the ball out quickly, cutting down his time to scan the field and find a teammate for a chain moving catch.

    On one particular play in the second quarter inside the seven-minute mark, the Steelers forced the Jets into a three-and-out with a blitz from the short side of the field known as the “boundary”.

    Gang Green was in a “Trips” set in the wide side of the field (“Field”) and a single receiver, Santonio Holmes, on the backside of the formation. On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Steelers were in a two man front and four linebackers stood around them, hovering around the line of scrimmage while a defensive back walked down into the box. Two cornerbacks on the outsides aligned in a soft coverage that indicated zone (Cover 2) with their eyes focused on the quarterback.
    Jets four wide set vs. Steelers 2 man pressure package.

    Another look shows the guts of the Steelers defense: a front packed with five defenders. Five defenders would indeed be coming after Sanchez and the Jets six-man protection, but not quite the exact five in the box.

    Instead, inside linebacker Larry Foote (50) dropped into zone coverage with “Hook” responsibility (in this case, cover the No. 3 receiver from the sideline presented post-snap). Outside of the tackle box, pass rusher LaMarr Woodley (56) also dropped into coverage, covering the receiver who is declared the #2 after the snap.

    While Foote and Woodley dropped, linebackers Lawrence Timmons (94) and Jason Worilds (93) came downhill into the A-gap (area between center and guards). The latter wrapped around from the outside after a stunt with the near defensive end. The two safeties pictured would both rotate in opposite directions for 1/2 field responsibilities.
    Steelers show blitz.

    LeBeau’s blitz works to perfection and that’s because of its sublime design. The five-man rush is balanced with both outside and inside rushers and has created a significant numbers advantage for the defense. When taking a closer look at the blitz after the snap, the Jets offensive linemen that aren’t doing anything stand out.

    The entire right side and center Nick Mangold are left to block one defender because of the pre-snap pressure from the two Steelers inside linebackers and Woodley. The perceived pressure from the inside linebackers forced Mangold to hold while right tackle Austin Howard expected pressure from Woodley, who never came and left Howard to help the right guard block the defensive end.

    The other half of the Jets blockers? They’re — all three of them — left cleaning up the real problem: the four Steelers rushing and wreaking havoc.
    With Timmons (94) running free on the inside, the running back is forced to come across and pick him up. Once this happens, defensive end Brett Keisel stunts into the gap to his right and forces the left guard and tackle to pick him up. As a result, Worilds (93) stunts right behind Timmons into the A gap and safety Ryan Clark (25) runs unblocked at Mark Sanchez to force a hurried throw.
    Steelers get the numbers advantage after the snap.

    With the pressure from Clark, Sanchez has to get rid of the ball quickly. But he runs into another issue: cornerback Ike Taylor is reading his upfield shoulder and is breaking on the ball as he reads. Because of the pressure from Clark and Timmons and the aggressiveness of Taylor, Sanchez throws a ball into the ground and the Jets go three and out.
    Ike Taylor breaks downhill as he reads Mark Sanchez.

    The game film from the previous weeks helped LeBeau and the Steelers defense prepare for this play, which is why they blitzed from the short side of the field. They knew Sanchez would be throwing to his left — on a three-step drop, the quarterback reads one side — based off of the offense’s tendencies and adjusted to it with a call for the blitz.

    LeBeau’s blitz concepts, adjustments, and ability to identify the tendencies of the opposition are a big reason for the Steelers’ successes on defense over the years and why they will continue to be one of the league’s best.

    http://blogs.thescore.com/nfl/2012/0...on-third-down/

  2. #2
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    Wow, balanced pressure, not Rex's stupid, predictable, mega-overload blitzes that take forever and rarely work anymore.

  3. #3
    as i stated going into game 1, if we can't improve the 3-outs we're done

  4. #4
    This will improve when Keller comes back

  5. #5
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    This is an example of why the Steelers can maintain their level of play year over year and avoid a dropoff due to talent leaving for free agency. They teach scheme, and develop players to understand it for years, so their backups are prepared to play once more prominant players go elsewhere for more money.

    Also, they were playing without their top two defenders and did not seem to miss a beat. Next man up.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by tfine350z View Post
    This will improve when Keller comes back
    so why we would not play Tebow in that role, even as a 'backup' more often during a game is beyond me, along with being our starting punt protector of course
    Last edited by ColonelForbin; 09-19-2012 at 01:30 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by brady's a catcher View Post
    Wow, balanced pressure, not Rex's stupid, predictable, mega-overload blitzes that take forever and rarely work anymore.
    You have to pressure the QB AND get the sack. Sacks by themselves can be overcome. Rex keeps the clamps on all the time; just need to improve sacks up the middle of the pocket.

    How good is Ben Rothliberger?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoastOffensive View Post
    You have to pressure the QB AND get the sack. Sacks by themselves can be overcome. Rex keeps the clamps on all the time; just need to improve sacks up the middle of the pocket.

    How good is Ben Rothliberger?
    he ran around the backfield like a greased pig last week

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoastOffensive View Post
    You have to pressure the QB AND get the sack. Sacks by themselves can be overcome. Rex keeps the clamps on all the time; just need to improve sacks up the middle of the pocket.

    How good is Ben Rothliberger?
    Sacks are a by-product of pressure.

    Pressure minimizes QB time to go through all progression reads, hurries the throw, and leads to bad decisions.

    You don't need sacks, but you do need pressure.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelForbin View Post
    so why we would not play Tebow in that role, even as a 'backup' more often during a game is beyond me, along with being our starting punt protector of course
    I was thinking the same thing...I'm sure we'll be bashed for even mentioning it. Tebow did beat the squealers last year...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatsFanTX View Post
    Sacks are a by-product of pressure.

    Pressure minimizes QB time to go through all progression reads, hurries the throw, and leads to bad decisions.

    You don't need sacks, but you do need pressure.
    99.9% of the time this is true. But with Big Ben it is about getting the sack. He flourishes when the pocket breaks down and kills defenses.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDNYjets View Post
    99.9% of the time this is true. But with Big Ben it is about getting the sack. He flourishes when the pocket breaks down and kills defenses.
    You have to give the rapist credit. He avoided about a half dozen sacks with defenders coming in unblocked. It wasn't Rex's pass rushing schemes that failed.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDNYjets View Post
    99.9% of the time this is true. But with Big Ben it is about getting the sack. He flourishes when the pocket breaks down and kills defenses.
    He does that against every defense.

    If you hit that guy high, he just won't go down.

    And he is probably the best QB in the NFL and making big plays downfield after the pocket breaks down.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by brady's a catcher View Post
    Wow, balanced pressure, not Rex's stupid, predictable, mega-overload blitzes that take forever and rarely work anymore.


    But...that's...exactly what..it is???


  15. #15
    Yup. Avoiding getting tagged by a disgruntled woman can be much harder to avoid that a pass rusher...

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by brady's a catcher View Post
    Wow, balanced pressure, not Rex's stupid, predictable, mega-overload blitzes that take forever and rarely work anymore.
    Rex can even sniff LeBeau's jock. Rex and this entire team are full of one trick ponies.

    Rex and overload blitzs.
    Greene running with his down and looking for contact.
    Sanchez with his quick slants.
    Revis, the only DB that can cover.
    and on and on...

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by PatsFanTX View Post
    He does that against every defense.

    If you hit that guy high, he just won't go down.

    And he is probably the best QB in the NFL and making big plays downfield after the pocket breaks down.
    That is who Ben is as a QB. His best asset is his ability to extend plays and make big plays under pressure. The guy is good.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by brady's a catcher View Post
    Wow, balanced pressure, not Rex's stupid, predictable, mega-overload blitzes that take forever and rarely work anymore.
    How many times did Rex's blitz schemes get free runners on Big Ben? At least 4-5 times they had Ben dead to rights, but he dodged the initial pressure. If PITT had Sanchez or 90% of NFL starting QBs back there rather than Ben, we would have had at least 7 sacks this week.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by srobjets View Post
    Rex can even sniff LeBeau's jock. Rex and this entire team are full of one trick ponies.

    Rex and overload blitzs.
    Greene running with his down and looking for contact.
    Sanchez with his quick slants.
    Revis, the only DB that can cover.
    and on and on...
    LOL, yep, like its that simple. If our DBs couldn't cover we wouldn't hold most QBs to 50% completions.

    How many slants did Sanchez throw this week? I was thinking he needed to throw more actually.

    I live how people hear or read something, and then just repeat it to death.

  20. #20
    Great breakdown C Mart!!!
    By shooting the A gaps, the Steelers also take away the draw option from the shotgun.
    For the life of me, I can't figure out why the Jets don't roll mark out to the trips side (which also happens to be the field side). That would put pressure on the dropping LBs to stop and or come up on the QBs run/pass option and give Mark more options to throw to (instead of the 1 on 1 on the other side).
    HOWEVER, one would think that the hot route on this should be 'Tone slanting behind the blitzing LBs instead of taking a few steps and turning around giving the corner the option to drive on him.

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